Friday, 25 February 2011

Hollywood's Best Film Directors - Michael Mann

Here is a great interview with Michael Mann, covering his entire career in his own words. Excellent behind the scenes footage. Must see. No embed code on this video. Check out the link here.

Michael Mann Entertainment Weekly Omission

I was somewhat taken aback not to see Michael Mann on Entertainment Weekly's top 25 greatest working directors based on, "... the most talented, in-demand filmmakers behind the camera today." Michael Mann didn't feature anywhere. Incredulous. There are numerous other glaring omissions - see if you can spot your favourites missing.  I rather admire Ron Howard actually. Their poor list is as follows:

  1. David Fincher
  2. Christopher Nolan
  3. Steven Spielberg
  4. Martin Scorsese
  5. Darren Aronofsky
  6. Joel and Ethan Coen
  7. Quentin Tarantino
  8. Terrence Malick
  9. Clint Eastwood
  10. Pedro Almodovar
  11. Paul Thomas Anderson
  12. Guillermo del Toro
  13. Roman Polanski
  14. Danny Boyle
  15. Kathryn Bigelow
  16. David O. Russell
  17. David Lynch
  18. James Cameron
  19. Peter Jackson
  20. Edgar Wright
  21. Spike Lee
  22. J.J. Abrams
  23. Brad Bird
  24. Mike Leigh
  25. Wes Anderson

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Michael Mann's heat Movie Trivia

Well folks, if you thought you knew Michael Mann's movie Heat inside out, then try answering some of the questions on Heat from this movie trivia site. Visit the site here. If nothing else, it is a useful list of information if you are wanting to put together an essay on Heat.

If you want to see a list of Heat goofs, then look here:

I always think listing goofs is a bit harsh and unfair, when you think just how minor they are when putting together something as meticulous and intricate as most movies require. But for those interested, enjoy.

Signed: Robert De Niro's character Neil from Michael Mann's Heat

I am not endorsing this product, but I am posting it here for anyone interested! I have no idea if it is authentic or not. Link to product is here. I would prefer a signed one of him in the blue interior house shot by the sea. I don't have any autographs - not even by Mann himself. Does anyone reading this have one? Any story behind it?

Product Description:

Robert DeNiro has personally hand signed this 8x10 Photo with a Silver paint pen. This great action shot is from the movie "Heat". The Black custom wood frame measures 13x15 inches, and includes double matting. Conservation Clear glass was used on this fine piece to protect the autograph from fading due to UltraViolet (UV) Rays, which will fade your autographed collectibles. This custom made frame is ready to hang on the wall, and would look great in any office, bedroom, or man cave! This item comes with a numbered Online authenticity sticker on the autographed photo, which you can verify online once you purchase it. Online is one of the top third party authenticators in the memorabilia industry. This item also comes with a REAL DEAL Memorabilia Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Get The REAL DEAL!

Our Price: $343.95

Supplier: Real Deal Memorabilia

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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Dante Spinotti & Michael Mann history of collaboration

One of the key people that has helped to bring Michael Mann success is his Director of Photography. Dante Spinotti was the first to collaborate with Mann on a feature film, this being Manhunter. Spinotti is now something of a cinematographer legend, and here is an excellent interview with him. I include an excerpt below about his arrival on the set of Last of the Mohicans, but he refers to some of the other movies he has worked on. To read the full interview click here, but an excerpt is included below:

DCR: What about The Last of the Mohicans?
SPINOTTI: Michael Mann called and spoke with me about this film, and he sent me the screenplay. What else would you want from life than a chance to film a great story set in 1700? Michael’s visual references included a couple of paintings, including Thomas Cole and Alfred Bierstadt. This is very typical of Michael. He shows you a simple image and says, ‘this is the movie.’ The paintings all showed how small human beings are in the scope of nature. Michael wanted everything to be extremely accurate. He offered me the picture, but it took a lot of time for him to put this project together. While I was waiting, Gary Marshall offered me a film called Frankie and Johnny. That was the film, which finally allowed me to get into the camera Guild. That opportunity was very important to me. It enabled me to work on other films in Hollywood, and also because I was always connected to union activities in Europe. Gary Marshall is a wonderful director and human being. A few weeks after we finished Frankie and Johnny, I was in Rome. 
One of the producers called and said Michael Mann wanted me to shoot The Last of the Mohicans. They booked me on a Concorde on a three-hour flight on Friday night. I was jet-lagged when I arrived and saw this amazing set of a British fort with actors dressed in military uniforms from 1700. All of our lighting was going to be based on sun and moonlight bonfires, torches and candles. There was a wonderful cast, including Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. Michael said he wanted was to keep the look monochromatic. One of the scenes that I was happiest with reproduced the pounding power of a waterfall in an interior shot set in a cave at night. You can’t see the waterfall, but you can feel its immense power in the pounding water on the faces of the actors. We bounced light from a couple of 4K Xenon’s with some big 12 x12 Mylar frames that a grip was shaking in front of them You can see the pattern of moving light on the faces and feel the power of the waterfall.
Full interview is here > 

See the effect Dante mentions about reproducing the flickering light on the faces in the scene below:

Michael Mann's The Insider Cinematography

Here is a good find on the net. A useful blog featuring top cinematography stills from history's most memorable movies. Featured amongst the greats is Michael Mann's The Insider - a personal favourite. The blogger also has a video of Quentin Tarantino giving his top 20 films. I am pleased to see The Insider at number 11. See it below this post or go to the link here.

Evan, the blogger, commented on The Insider stills in the following way:
It was shot 2:35. Unfortunately it hasn’t been released in an HD format yet except on tv. So this is an HD tv rip and they pretty much always use the same 16:9 aspect ratio for all their television releases. When it is released on blu-ray I’ll post it again. But it’s better than nothing for now.
In his later years Sydney Pollack would purposely frame shots with people at opposite edges of the frame so that his movies couldn’t be cropped to a different aspect ratio.
Another blog, with an excellent comment on the art of cinematography, with a comment on Public Enemies can be found here.

Monday, 21 February 2011

New Aesthetic Form in Michael Mann's Public Enemies

Thanks to Goga, who left me this link (on my Michael Mann social network site) to an interesting article on Public Enemies, an excerpt from which is below:

In making "Public Enemies," Mann opted for digital high definition video for the very reason I once thought it could never achieve the aesthetic appeal of film imagery—its "nowness." In interviews Mann has stated that in telling Dillinger's anti-heroic, Depression-era story, he did not want the distancing, nostalgic look conveyed by conventional emulsions. Rather he wanted the viewer to have a sense of 1933 happening in the present, a visual "now" style which he said might suggest a "hyper-reality." That style is as compelling as the narrative it underwrites. And having seen the movie a second time, closely studying the way the digital high definition camera can be used to create a new, uniquely expressive form of screen art, I must confess I can see a real future for it in movie theaters. With "Public Enemies," Michael Mann has paved the way.

Read more >

Miami Vice Movies in 4 Frames

Every Mann movie has its poetic sequences, and one of my all time favourite's is a beautifully captured 4 frame sequence from Movies in Frames, featuring Crockett saying goodbye to Isabella. The cinematography is profoundly good, capturing the wind whisping across Crockett's hair with palm trees swaying in perfect harmony as if in empathy to the sadness and causality of the scene. Check the site out for a bit of fun. And remember, "time is luck".

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Shaun Toub added to Michael Mann's Recurring Cast on "Luck"

Shaun Toub is an excellent actor. Luck has developed an incredible cast. This brief article is taken from Deadline.Com

Iranian-born character actor Shaun Toub (Iron Man, The Last Airbender) has been added to the cast of another HBO drama series, the upcoming Luck, as a recurring. Luck, a David Milch/Michael Mann collaboration starring Dustin Hoffman, takes a provocative look at horse racing -- the owners, gamblers, jockeys and industry players. Abrams Artists-repped Toub will play Doctor Khan, a local emergency room doctor with a surprisingly complicated backstory.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Michael Mann directing Colin Farrell and Gong Li

Can anyone tell me: Is this a featurette for the HD version of Miami Vice? I don't have a HD TV (whimper), so have never seen Miami Vice in HD on TV for my crimes. I only have the double disc standard edition DVD, and this featurette isn't on it (unless I have totally forgotten?!). So, this fantastic little clip is new to me! Amazing to see Michael Mann physically directing/choreographing Cuban dance! He is telling super cool Colin Farrell how to dance ... watch it, and you will see what Colin tells Mann. Hmmmm ... Is there anything Mann cannot direct? One thing shows in this featurette - a clear chemistry between Colin and Gong Li. Oh yes...

Previously unseen footage of Colin Farrell receiving fight training for Miami Vice

Mick Gould is Michael Mann's technical advisor on fight scenes and use of weapons. Ex special forces, this video clip shows Mick Gould training Colin Farrell for that opening scene in Miami Vice. The scene has a similar flavour to the nightclub scene in Collateral where Tom Cruise does a similar floor crunching move. For the girls, see a sweaty, topless Colin Farrell... if you must!

I have to say, Mick Gould shows the moves with frightening efficiency.

John Ortiz talks a little about Michael Mann's Luck

I thought John Ortiz was superb in Miami Vice. Loved his character Jose. A far cry from his real self. Shows how far these actors go inside themselves.

Disney Ducks version of Michael Mann's Heat - hilarious

This is hilarious.... absolutely hilarious. See the Disney Ducks version of Heat. I am still chuckling away as I type.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Johnny Depp getting into character for Public Enemies

Found a very interesting bit of footage of Johnny Depp getting into character on the set of Public Enemies, where Michael Mann can be seen talking to him as the scene is prepped. If you want to see it, check it out below or over at my new sister site to this blog: I want folk to check out the cool features my new Michael Mann social network site has to offer. Join up and add your favourite Michael Mann images and video clips, or thoughts!

Exclusive - Public Enemies Filming Footage on Set from on Vimeo.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Michael Mann Blogathon

Check out this Michael Mann blogathon over at:

If you have a moment, leave a post there. Closes tomorrow.

Launch of this blog's new Michael Mann social network

Check out my new Michael Mann social network!

I must be mad. Trying to start a spanking new social network for Michael Mann fans. So why do it? Put simply, I just love hearing all the latest news on Michael Mann and sharing it. It's exciting. I also enjoy reading what everyone else has to say about it too. So I thought, why not let everyone share what they want about Michael Mann in one place, so that we don't all have to cross link, cross post and then search the vast internet to then find it, only to forget where we read it afterwards.

Nope, this social site could be the answer to all our Michael Mann curiosities. This is somewhere for all the Michael Mann fans to keep each other updated on the very latest on what they have read, written, seen and experienced. In one place, where like minded people will love your posts and find it easily.

So, you have another blog or website? Why not just copy some of your best info to the social site, and use your profile to backlink back to your site?

I am just a lone fan doing this, so bear with me while I fill it out with new content. This is where I need you guys! I need to get a certain number of members to see that this is worth my while financing (it costs to run this network), so if you are interested, don't hesitate.

Join now and upload something you want to share (this new site is a team effort!) something that is special to you. Tell us why it is special. I am interested! Is it the directing, the acting, the music, the cinematography, the writing... ?

I am really looking forward to seeing you appear on the member listings and reading your posts (you can upload video, pictures, add a blog and more).

Remember ... to keep this new site viable, I need as many Michael Mann fans as possible! My blog will continue right here. See you over at

Sunday, 6 February 2011

John C. McGinley of Scrubs joins Michael Mann's Luck

John C. McGinley of Scrubs fame is said to be taking a regular role in Luck, playing the part of a genial swindler working closely with his daughter.

I like McGinley, who has a unique way of expressing humour and awkward dialogue. This is a good additional casting, and should lighten what otherwise sounds like a heavy duty drama. He has an excellent range of expression and will be more than capable of pulling this role off. Looking forward to it ... the cast just gets better and better. They are throwing everything at this series.

>Source Article

Friday, 4 February 2011

Public Enemies historical Information

John Dillinger and his wanted poster

Thompson SubMachine Gun
If you are a huge fan of Michael Mann's Public Enemies, then you must see this link. It has a ton of information on the history of Dillinger and his gang that has so fascinated Mann on his journey to making this film. I didn't want to post this over my Birthday greeting to Mr. Mann, but its so good I just had to put it on! Find a wealth of reading material on Dillinger and his gang, the weapons he used and so on.

Find the article here.

Below are some snippets about the real John Dillinger, and his death in the film is featured at the bottom.

Happy Birthday Michael Mann!

Michael Mann planning a robbery
Happy Birthday Michael Mann!

Born February 5th, 1943 in Chicago Illinois.

Thank you for your gift of cinematic wonder, and we raise a toast to you.

Incidentally, another great artist born in February, and a man of large influence on my life is Ansel Adams. Ansel was in some way a father figure of arts to me, holding my hand through the wonder of creation and introducing me (through his writings) to his extraordinary circle of friends, like Steiglitz and Weston. Whilst I cannot sensibly explain how Ansel Adams and Michael Mann can possibly be linked, as a creative and emotional influence on my life, somehow I believe they are. I know Ansel was a concert pianist, and the only theory I can conceive is that Ansel's painfully beautiful photography had a layer of music within it that still resonates with me today – just as Mann's masterpieces are layered with the power of music. It isn't a tangible link, but emotionally I receive the same resonance. As I contemplate this, the use of craft comes to mind. Both Mann and Ansel Adams were renwoned perfectionists, going to great lengths to fulfill their visualization and hit those notes so precisely so to resonate. It was Ansel that then led me on a panoramic journey, taking in Malevich, Kandinsky and photographers such as Rodchenko, Bresson and many the like.

It is a wonderful coincidence therefore that I share the same birth date as Ansel Adams. Except for the year ... of course!

Have a very blessed day Michael, and may your hopes and desires for these years be fulfilled in ever greater measure both at home and at work.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

New Commenting System and about this Michael Mann blog

Hey everyone ... this is a note to say that I am changing the commenting system for this Michael Mann blog from Intense Debate to Disqus. I am hoping it will enable a more organic way of sharing great Michael Mann related information. So dive in, and keep sharing some of your own top links to anything new. I hope the change isn't an inconvenience for anyone. Feel free to let me know what you think of it.

Whilst talking about this blog, my plan is to continue providing both up to date and backdated information on Michael Mann. I do my best to respect copyright, as well as enter into the freedom of information sharing the internet offers. I try to balance the two, which is why I don't quote entire articles - mainly excerpts with links to the actual article. The downside of this is that sometimes great links become dud. So apologies if you come across these. It's always sad when a great YouTube clip suddenly disappears.

Finally, a word about privacy. I was amused by a recent YouTube video clip of Dustin Hoffman who was being followed and filmed by some guys with a camera. The camera person shouted to Hoffman as he climbed into his Prius, "What do you hope to accomplish in 2011?" Dustin muttered back "privacy". It was a great response. For the irony, I include the clip below. If you don't know, Hoffman is in Michael Mann's forthcoming TV series "Luck". But on this note on privacy, I do want to state that I have no interest in getting into the domesticity of Michael Mann or the extraordinary talents he employs. I am simply fascinated with the technical and emotional processes undertaken, what makes Mann who he is, what drives Michael Mann to create what he creates, and the mechanisms and people used to achieve this. Nearly all of this is revealed in his extensive interviews and more importantly, in Mann films and TV work. I am not interested in delving unreasonably into his personal life, which is well documented as being fiercely protected. But anything movie related is fair game and behind the scenes exclusives would mean a rush for those of us who so anticipate his work. Such pre-release insights are uncommon, as most professionals and extras no doubt don't want to jeopardize future employment. But I hope those of you out there, including celebrity readers,  that have some great anecdotes, images or footage of Michael Mann at work would contact me and allow them to be shared on this site. I like to think I can be trusted with confidential off the record statements and sources ... I said that because it sounds exciting ... The truth is, I know I will just continue internet crawling for scraps!